28th February – Lee Carsley

Lee Carsley may not have been the flashest of footballers or made the most headlines but he was certainly a very consistent and reliable player for every team he played for.

The 41 year old is currently the development manager at Brentford and will be passing on his experience and knowledge to the younger players at the club. With everything going on at the club it will be good if he sticks around so there is some consistency there and not too many changes for the younger players. The midfielder will also have a lot of contacts in the game which will help him out if he ever wants to become a manager himself.

Carsley started his career at Derby County and spent seven years at the club, showing his talents and becoming a very reliable player even from a young age. He went on to play over 150 games for the club in all competitions and his form convinced Blackburn Rovers to spend £4.5 million on him in March 1999. He only spent one full season at the club but he was once again impressive and rather surprisingly he ended it as the club’s top scorer and ended his time there with 11 goals in 47 league games.

Carsley DC

In December 2000 he moved on to Coventry City but this once again was only a short stay as he only lasted 14 months at the club before moving on Everton for £1.4 million. His first two seasons at Goodison Park were not spectacular and he hadn’t quite fulfilled his potential there until the 2004-05 season when he became one of the most important members of the team. With Everton now playing with a holding midfielder, Carsley fit the system brilliantly. In December 2004 he then became an Everton legend by scoring the winning goal in the 200th Merseyside Derby against Liverpool and helped the club finish fourth in the Premier League.

Carsley Everton

Unfortunately injuries struck and Carsley missed a lot of football over the next few years. Despite getting offered a contract extension he decided to leave the club at the end of the 2007-08 season after playing 166 league games for Everton. Carsley then joined hometown club Birmingham City and was given the captain’s armband and it turned out to be a successful season as they won promotion back to the Premier League and he was named their Players’ Player of the Year.

Carsley BC

However, he could not show everyone that he was still good enough for the Premier League because of more injuries and he left the club in July 2010 signing for Coventry City. He was once again made club captain but after just 25 league appearances his contract ended and he became a coach at the club soon afterwards. Since he has worked at Sheffield United and Brentford.

The final word can go to Aidy Boothroyd who signed him for Coventry. “Lee has a track record as a winner. He is a leader and knows what is required to win on a regular basis. I want Lee to be the glue that binds the team together because he has talent, experience, physical presence, pace and, obviously footballing ability.”

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8th November – Morgan Schneiderlin

Southampton have been fantastic this season and have certainly been one of the surprise packages of the season, especially as they were considered relegation favourites by many after losing so many important players in the summer but hanging on to Morgan Schneiderlin has arguably been their best bit of business.

The midfielder has played a crucial role in getting the club back to where they belong and has now even pushed them on to the next level which has meant that he has been linked with moves away. It looked as though he was going to leave during the summer but nobody can doubt his commitment to the club every time he steps onto the pitch. With the club in second place they will have realistic ambitions of qualifying for Europe and that will definitely convince the Frenchman to stay at the club.
Schneiderlin Saints
The 25 year old started his career at Strasbourg and would sign his first contract with the club in 2005 and go on to make his debut in the B-team later in the year. After 37 league games and five goals for the second string he was promoted to the first team but after just five appearances over two seasons he would be sold after the club were relegated from Ligue 1 at the end of the 2007-08 season.
Schneiderlin Strasbourg
On the 27th June 2008 Schneiderlin signed for Southampton and made his debut on the 9th August 2008 in a 2-1 defeat against Cardiff City. His first season ended badly as the club were relegated from the Championship but the Frenchman decided to stay with the club and help them gain promotion from League One. He would go on to score his first goal for the club in a 5-1 win over Bristol Rovers on the 13th April 2010 in a 5-1 win. Despite only playing 27 league games during the 2010-11 season he proved what a good player he was as the team clinched promotion back to the Championship.

During the summer he was rewarded with a new contract and Southampton gained back to back promotions and returned to the Premier League with Schneiderlin scoring goals against Burnley and Nottingham Forest. After promotion to the top flight like a lot of players, he kept his spot in the side and was in fantastic form in the early part of the season, scoring against Manchester United and Swansea City. He would then go on to captain the side on the 16th January 2013 in a thrilling comeback against Chelsea and then would soon after score his third Premier League goal against Wigan Athletic to rescue his side a point.
Schneiderlin Soton
Once again he was rewarded with a new contract and was quickly becoming known as one of the best holding midfielders in the country. At the end of the season he was credited with the most tackles, interceptions and the highest work rate in the league and was named the Players’ Player and Fans’ Player of the Year awards at Southampton. Last season he was equally impressive but this year he has gone on to another level and has already scored three goals, two against West Ham and another superb effort against Newcastle United.

The final word can go to Southampton manager Ronald Koeman. “Him staying has been the best part of the window for us. He’s a fantastic player and an important player for the team. That gives the rest of the lads confidence and ambition. His behaviour has been professional and the one answer he gave was on the pitch, and that’s always the best answer that you can give.”

5th November – Kasper Schmeichel

Kasper Schmeichel has a lot of pressure on his shoulders as he has to be on top form to help keep Leicester City in the Premier League and he also has to deal with the comparisons with his dad.

Peter Schmeichel will go down as one of the greatest goalkeepers ever and Kasper has a long way to go to even be in the same league as him but in his own right he has had a very good career and developed into a brilliant goalkeeper. It can’t be easy for him to stand in the goal while opposition fans behind the goals are shouting at him, you’ll never be as good as your dad.

The 28 year old started his career at Manchester City but got his first opportunity in a loan spell at Darlington in January 2006. He made his professional debut against Peterborough United, helping his side to a 2-1 win and then followed this up with a clean sheet against Grimsby Town. After two more games for the club he returned to his parent club but this only lasted a month as he was loaned out, this time to Bury. He would play 29 league games at Bury over two separate loan spells.

Schmeichel was desperate to play games and did not want to sit on the bench so in January 2007 he joined Scottish side Falkirk. After some impressive performances, including a man of the match against Rangers, he was linked with a permanent move but instead at the start of the 2007-08 season he found himself as first choice at Manchester City. He played the first seven games of the season, conceding just five goals and helped his side to a 1-0 win over rivals Manchester United.

In September 2007 Schmeichel signed a new four year deal with the club but was loaned out to Cardiff City where he played 14 times and despite both the player and the club wanting to extend his stay, Sven Goran Eriksson did not let this happen as he needed a substitute keeper. However, on the 13th March 2008 he joined Coventry City on loan for the rest of the season. Afterwards, both the goalkeeper and his father admitted that they regretted signing the new deal.

Despite being at the club for such a long time, he only played eight league games and on the 14th August 2009 he made the surprising move to League Two side Notts County. It was clear that he was too good for that level and was influential in winning the title for the club, only conceding 29 goals in 43 matches and keeping 24 clean sheets. At the end of the season he had to be released from his contract as his wages were too high. However, Schmeichel was praised as he agreed to forgo all his future wages which if he hadn’t would have put the club in even more financial problems.
Schmeichel NC
On the 1st July 2010 he joined Leeds United on a two year deal but despite putting in some impressive performances for the club and being highly praised he was sold after just 37 league appearances and one season because they felt his goals against ratio was poor. So on the 27th June 2011 Schmeichel joined Leicester City and in his first season he won the Club’s Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year awards after 17 clean sheets in 52 games and saving four penalties. In the following season his performances got even better and he was named in the PFA Championship Team of the Year.
Schmeichel LU
Last season he helped the club win the Championship and so far has been solid in the Premier League, however after a good start the club are now starting to find it difficult which means the experienced players like Schmeichel need to make sure their heads don’t drop.
Soccer - npower Football League Championship - Cardiff City v Leicester City - Cardiff City Stadium
The final word can go to his dad, Peter. “He’s played exceptionally well for Leicester over a long, long period of time. He’s been very, very patient. He’s played every week and played to a high level and I think it is great that he gets his opportunity. As a dad I’m really, really proud I have to say.”

21st October – Nemanja Vidic

Manchester United have been inconsistent so far this season and major reason for this is because they have struggled at the back and many believe that they should have kept Nemanja Vidic.

The central defender was a huge success at Old Trafford and formed an impressive partnership with Rio Ferdinand that helped the club win a lot of trophies. He turns 33 today and that is still young for a centre back, especially when pace was never one of his greatest attributes. Vidic felt it was time to leave after last season but he will still be considered a Manchester United legend.

Vidic started his career at Red Star Belgrade but had his first taste of professional football on loan at Serbian side Spartak Subotica in 2000 and had a very good goalscoring record for a defender, scoring six league goals in 26 games. This form convinced Red Star manager Zoran Filipovic to put him into the team for the 2001-02 season. In his first season he won the Yugoslav Cup and was named club captain and would help the club onto better things, winning the domestic double in 2004. After 16 goals in 95 games, the defender joined Russian side Spartak Moscow in July 2004.
Vidic RSB
He spent two years at the Russian side and his reputation grew and was being watched by other clubs and on the 5th January 2006 he joined Manchester United. He had to wait until the 26th January to make his debut in the semi final of the League Cup against Blackburn Rovers. They would go onto win the competition and Vidic came on as a substitute in the final, which meant he received a winners medal, however he gave it to Giuseppe Rossi in recognition of the Italian’s contribution.
Vidic SM
During the 2006-07 season he finally became a first team regular and played 25 times in the Premier League as the club went on to lift the title and was rewarded with a five year contract in the following campaign. The club would go onto retain the title and also won the Champions League after beating Chelsea. The 2008-09 season was arguably his best as he was shortlisted for the PFA Player of the Year award as well as winning the fans and players’ Player of the Year awards. This is an even better achievement considering that the club the defence was never settled. He would also start every match in their record breaking 14 consecutive clean sheets in the Premier League.

The next important moment during his career at Manchester United was in the 2010-11 season when he was named club captain. On the 30th October 2010, Vidic scored against Tottenham Hotspur in a 2-0 win and he has the honour of scoring the 1000th Premier League goal at Old Trafford. At the end of the season he would lift another Premier League trophy and Manchester United’s record breaking 19th.
Vidic MU
The 2011-12 season was frustrating for the defender as he suffered injuries and it was ended on the 7th December after he twisted his knee in a Champions League game against Basel. He finally returned in a 1-0 defeat against Everton on the 20th August 2012 but after suffering more injuries he would only play 22 games, however he did pick up his final Premier League winners medal at the end of the season. His final year at the club was very disappointing and he announced that he would be leaving the club and after 300 appearances he joined Inter Milan. He has not had the greatest of starts as he gave away a penalty on his debut and was sent off against Torino. Then against Palermo he made an error which allowed Franco Vazquez to score in a 1-1 draw.

The final word can go to Alex Ferguson. “Nemanja is a warrior, he’s a natural defender and he loves defending. There have been few defenders like him over the years. Nemanja is so powerful and positive in everything. He has been a great signing.”

11th October – Seamus Coleman

Seamus Coleman has been one of the best full backs in the Premier League over the last few seasons but unfortunately like a lot of Everton players this year he has suffered from injuries and is one of many in their treatment room.

The 26 year old has always been good going forward but he has improved a lot defensively and although he adds a lot in attack, it is no surprise that when he is in the starting eleven Everton concede less goals and look more solid. David Moyes give him a chance but it has been Roberto Martinez that has developed his talent and now he is being linked with some of the biggest clubs in Europe.

After initially starting out as a Gaelic Footballer, he made the move to professional football and signed for Sligo Rovers. He made his debut against Derry City in October 2006 after coming on as a substitute. He did not have an easy start as manager Rob McDonald did not rate him and thought he should move down a division but when he was sacked and replaced with Paul Cook, the new manager gave Coleman a lot of praise and the defender began to flourish.
Coleman SR
In total he made 60 appearances for the club, scoring once against Bray Wanderers in May 2008 before moving on to Everton in January 2009 for the very small fee of £60,000. Even though he had not kicked a ball for the club, his career could have been over but surgery saved it and he eventually made his debut in the Europa League against Benfica, unfortunately they went on to lose the game 5-0.

His Premier League debut was a much better experience, after coming on as a substitute he helped set up both goals in a 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur and was awarded the man of the match at the end of the game. Despite this he still struggled to get first team opportunities and went out on loan to Blackpool to help them in their promotion push in March 2010. In his 12 game spell, including the playoff final win over Cardiff City 3-2, he scored once in a 4-2 away win against Scunthorpe United. During his time out on loan he also signed a new four year deal with his parent club.
Coleman Blackpool
The following season he broke into the Everton side and was originally used as a right winger and scored his first Premier League goal against former club Blackpool. He finished the season with our goals but also received the first red card of his career in the final day in a 1-0 win over Chelsea. His performances meant that he was nominated for the 2011 PFA Young Player of the Year.
Coleman Everton
Coleman was a very solid player for a number of seasons but finally received all the attention that he deserves during the 2013-14 season. He scored six league goals, was named as Everton’s Player of the Year, their Players’ Player of the Year and also in the PFA Team of the Year. During the course of the season he set up 45 chances and helped them to a club record 72 Premier League points.

The final word can go to Roberto Martinez. “He just grows month by month. He is a good example of a footballer with an incredible attitude and appetite for the game. I haven’t done anything to coax that out of him. He knows his potential. He plays in a demanding position which needs you to be so good in many areas. He’s one of the best full-backs in world football.”

14th September – Steven Naismith

Steven Naismith has been one of the surprising stars of the Premier League so far and now at the age of 27 he is getting towards the best years of his career.

Everton have had an indifferent start to the season but with their 2-0 victory over West Brom they will be hoping this is where things will get more consistent for them and they will battle for a place in the top four. Despite this being their only league win so far, they have also only lost one game and Naismith has been in excellent form, scoring in the first three games of the season against Leicester City, Chelsea and Arsenal.

The striker started his career at Kilmarnock and signed professionally in August 2002, then making his debut as a substitute against Hibernian on the 24th April 2004. He had to wait until February 2005 to score his first senior goal against Hearts in a 2-2 draw. It was in the 2005-06 season that he really began to make a name for himself as he won the SPL Young Player of the Month in August and January and then the SPL Player of the Month award in March.
Naismith Everton
He continued to be one of the best strikers in Scotland and was therefore linked with moves away from the club and after 115 games and 35 goals for Kilmarnock he moved onto Rangers on the 31st August 2007. His first season at the club started off well but a knee injury in April 2008 kept him out of action for eight months. After missing the majority of the following campaign he returned to help Rangers lift the Scottish Cup.

In the 2009-10 season he received his first SPL winners medal after the club won back to back titles but this time Naismith had played enough games to get one. He played 28 times in the league, scoring three times. While at Rangers he was used a lot as a wide player and this was part of the reason he did not score a lot of goals but the 2010-11 season he had his best goal return at the club, hitting the back of the net 15 times and winning the Players’ Player of the Year and Supporters Player of the Year.
Naismith Rangers
The 2011-12 season could have been so much better for Naismith if it wasn’t cut short by injury. He started the season by scoring on the opening day against Hearts, and followed this up by scoring eight times in the first eight league games, including two against Celtic in a 4-2 win. After nine goals in 11 games he suffered a cruciate ligament injury and did not play for the club again.

Naismith joined Everton on the 4th July 2012 after Rangers had been liquidated. He made his debut as a substitute in a 1-0 win over Manchester United. He did not have the best first season as he was largely used as a substitute but he has the record of scoring the final goal of David Moyes’ reign at the club in a 2-1 defeat to Chelsea.
Naismith Killie
Under new manager Roberto Martinez he made a rare start against Chelsea in September 2013 and scored the game’s only goal. As the season progressed he became a more important member of the team and his good run of form coincided with Everton winning seven games on the bounce and also helping them to fifth place and also their highest point tally ever in the Premier League.

The final word can go to David Moyes. “He is an established international who can play in a number of positions. He will be an excellent addition to the players we already have and will hopefully prove to be very useful for us.”

22nd June – Kieran Lee

Kieran Lee had a pretty slow start to his career at Sheffield Wednesday but last season proved to be one of their best players and was a very influential player on the pitch.

It is not surprising that he eventually showed his quality at Hillsborough because of how well he had already done in the past at previous clubs. It seemed like injuries were going to be a problem for him but his form improved dramatically after Dave Jones left the club and he started playing in the centre of midfield under Stuart Gray.

Lee did start his career as a central midfielder but at first club Manchester United he was used mostly as a fullback and after impressing for the under 18s and the reserves he was offered a professional contract at the club. During the 2006-07 season he was named the captain of the reserves team and also made his first team debut coming on as a substitute in a third round League Cup game against Crewe Alexandra. The scores were level at full time so the game went to extra time and Lee scored to make it 2-1 with a composed finish that seasoned pros would have been proud of.
Lee MU
He played once more in the League Cup that season and also made his Premier League debut against Chelsea on the 9th May and at the end of the season he was named the Reserve Player of the Year. Although he was named as a substitute in a Champions League game against Roma he never played for the Old Trafford club again and on the 2nd January he joined QPR on loan. He spent four months at the London club and made seven appearances before being released by his parent club.

In the summer of 2008 he joined Oldham Athletic and his career really kicked off and he became one of the most consistent players for the next few seasons. But he had to wait until the 26th December to make his debut in a 3-0 win over Crewe and to make it better he even provided the assist for the final goal. Lee had to wait until the next season to get his first goal and it was an important 95th minute equaliser against Swindon Town and he eventually became a first team regular for the first time in his career.
Soccer - npower Football League One - Oldham Athletic v Milton Keynes Dons - Boundary Park
When Paul Dickov became manager of Oldham his performances went to the next level and he was regarded as one of the best fullbacks in the Football League. At the end of the 2010-11 season he picked up four Player of the Year awards at the club, including Players’ Player of the Year and the Fans’ Player of the Year. Remarkably at the end of the following season he followed this up once more with yet another four awards.

Sheffield Wednesday then signed Lee in 2012 and the 26 year old is now one of their most important players and in the season just gone he played 26 times, scoring once and creating another four goals.
Kieran Lee of Sheffield Wednesday
The final word can go to the Oldham chairman Simon Corney. “Sometimes when players leave, you feel let down because you think they owe you something, but this is absolutely not the case with Kieran. He’s a great boy; I can’t speak highly enough of him; I wish we had 11 Kieran Lees”